In the end, there was no miracle for the Giants. Still, the commander remembered the Lotte fans who traveled to Jamsil Stadium to show their support and said, “I’m really sorry,” and expressed his sincerity.
Lotte lost 0-7 against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday. With the loss, Lotte remained in seventh place in the league with 66 wins and 73 losses. Lotte still had hopes of reaching the fall baseball season after winning the previous day (Sept. 9) against LG, but the loss confirmed their elimination from the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. Lotte now has five games remaining. They host Dusan in Anbang on the 11th before traveling to Gwangju to face KIA on the 12th. After a day off on the 13th, the team concludes the 2023 pennant race with a three-game series against Hanwha and Daejeon from the 14th to the 16th.
After missing fall baseball for seven straight years from 2001 to 2007, Lotte reached the postseason for five straight seasons until 2012, when Royster was hired in 2008. However, the team did not play fall ball again for four consecutive years starting in 2013. Lotte returned to fall ball in 2017, finishing third in the pennant race. It had been five years since 2012. Back then, Lotte dramatically finished third in the regular season finale to earn a direct semi-playoff berth. However, they were swept in the semifinals by the NC Dinos in a hard-fought five-game series.
Then the dark days began again, as the team hung its head in shame this season, failing to qualify for fall baseball for the sixth straight season from 2018 to this season. In 2018, they finished the pennant race in seventh place with a record of 68 wins, 74 losses, and two ties (a .479 winning percentage). In 2019, the team finished last among the 10 clubs with a record of 48 wins, 93 losses, and three ties (0.340 winning percentage). It was the first time in the club’s history since its founding in 1982 that Lotte finished the regular season in 10th place, and the first time in 15 years since 2004 that it finished last. They were 8.5 games behind the ninth-place Hanwha Eagles. It was a tumultuous time for the organization, with the head coach, general manager, and president all stepping down to take responsibility for the poor performance.
Lotte rebounded the following year. They finished the 2020 season with 71 wins, 72 losses, and one tie, one win shy of a five-game winning percentage, and a .497 winning percentage, finishing the pennant race in seventh place in the league. This was certainly an improvement over the 2019 season, but the team struggled to break out of the middle of the pack. In 2021, they finished eighth in the league with 65 wins, 71 losses, and eight draws (a 0.478 winning percentage), a lower winning percentage than in 2020. Last season, they finished eighth again with 64 wins, 76 losses, and four draws (0.457 winning percentage).
Lotte bolstered its roster ahead of this season by signing free agent catcher Yoo Kang-nam, shortstop Noh Jin-hyuk, and pitcher Han Hyun-hee. Lotte certainly had a good start to the season. However, the team slipped in the standings after June due to a series of losing seasons, and the team’s former manager, Larry Sutton, voluntarily resigned due to health issues. With Sutton’s departure, Lotte was left with seven coaches after Royster who had not fulfilled their contracts. Lee Jong-woon, who had previously spent a season as Lotte’s first-team coach in 2015, took over as acting head coach, and while he did a good job, he was unable to close the gap that had already opened up with the top teams. As a result, Lotte has only been successful in fall baseball once in the last 11 seasons (2017). Now, Lotte will send Stovrig packing with an eye toward next season. Immediately, the team will need to address issues such as hiring a manager, re-signing foreigners, and signing free agents.메이저사이트
Lee Jong-woon, Lotte’s acting head coach, spoke to reporters before the game on Tuesday. “There were a lot of Lotte fans the day before (on the 9th). They were really sorry, but they were cheering for our team even though (fall baseball) has become difficult…. The players should have seen that and felt responsible, but I was sorry,” he confessed. On the 9th, 22,807 fans came to Jamsil Stadium and 18,521 on the 10th to watch the Lotte Giants face off against the LG Twins, and the away fans on the third base side cheered the Lotte players until the end.
Lee said, “It was heartwarming to see the support of the Lotte fans. When we used to play baseball, there was a lot of swearing, but now it’s hard to find anyone swearing. Seeing the fans’ behavior made me realize once again that our players have to be really good. I was also very moved by the cheers,” he said.